You might be overworked, overwhelmed, and overcommitted if:
- You can’t remember the last time you took a nap without feeling guilty…
- You’ve bumped into someone at church and wanted to get together, but didn’t have room in your schedule for the next six months…
- Your family meals together consist of McDonald’s drive-through on the way to several activities during the week…
- You live from one “to-do list” to the next with the illusion that someday, in some way, things will slow down and then you’ll take that time to build relationships and serve God. But that someday never comes.
I used to live this way 30 years ago. Until one day, my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “Chip, you’re either going to die a young man, or you’re going to learn how to live very differently. You live at a pace and at a level that will kill you if you don’t change.”
At that point my life I was moving at some pretty high RPMs. I had a wife and kids and I was finishing my degree at Dallas Seminary all while working a full-time job.
Then I learned about a gift from God that would protect me from destroying myself with work.
It’s called the Sabbath.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” (Exodus 20:8-10)
Sabbath means to rest, to stop – and literally – “to be lacking.”
So now, every seven days, I stop, rest and allow my mind, spirit and body to be recalibrated and restored. I still live at a fast pace, but one out of every seven days I honor the Sabbath.
Even God took a Sabbath.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.(Exodus 20:11)
The Lord modeled this for us so that we don’t just work, but we also take the time to appreciate and enjoy what we’ve accomplished. Some of us are so task oriented that we don’t ever enjoy what God gives us. We never take the time to look back and savor our work.
The Sabbath is God’s way of saying to us: “I love you so much, that I’m going to set a boundary around your human tendency to go, go, go.”
God understood our human tendencies to live in fear and be anxious about the future and work longer hours than we should, so He created the Sabbath to:
- Protect our body from “wearing out.” Many people are intensely chasing after their life. Sadly, the number one prescription filled in the US is Valium and the number one drug prescribed is antidepressants. This is a sign of burn out.
God says, “Rest! Give your body a break!” This means it’s legal to take a nap and sleep in on your day of rest. It’s OK to say, “I’m tired.”
- Protect our spirit from “tuning out.” The “antenna” of God wants to give us direction but it needs to be constantly tuned. God is beaming down his reception onto us, but if we’re going too fast, we may miss Him.
God says, “Your body needs a rest, but your spirit needs to be recalibrated.” This means we get alone and quiet and ask God to show us where we need to examine our hearts. What most of us do instead is distractourselves by eating, playing music, or watching TV.
- Protect our soul from “burning out.” We need to renew our mind and body, but also our hearts. Those who are growing spiritually always make silence, solitude and Sabbath part of their weekly routine.
We’re all living in a hostile environment of hurry, rush and info overload and the only way to sort it out is to receive the gift of Sabbath.
What would it look like for you to practice the enduring principle of the Sabbath so that instead of being stressed out, you could have your mind, spirit and emotions recharged?
For a fresh look at the Ten Commandments, check out Chip’s seriesGod’s Boundaries for Abundant Living.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and teaching pastor and president of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including "The Real God," "Culture Shock" and "The Real Heaven." Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and eleven grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip